catch Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo
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Meaning of “catch” in the English Dictionary

"catch" in British English

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uk   /kætʃ/  us   /kætʃ/ (caught, caught)
  • catch verb (TAKE HOLD)

A1 [I or T] to take ​hold of something, ​especially something that is ​moving through the ​air: I ​managed to catch the ​glass before it ​hit the ​ground. We ​saw the ​eagleswoop from the ​sky to catch ​itsprey. Our ​dogran past me and out of the ​house before I could catch it. He caught hold of my ​arm. We ​placedsaucepans on the ​floor to catch (= ​collect) the ​drops of ​water coming through the ​roof.UK The ​batsman was caught (out) (= someone in the other ​team caught the ​ball when he ​hit it).

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  • catch verb (STOP ESCAPING)

B1 [T] to ​find and ​stop a ​person or ​animal that is ​trying to ​escape: Great ​pressure was put on the ​police to catch the ​terrorists as ​soon as ​possible. [+ -ing verb] Two ​armed men were caught ​trying to ​cross the ​frontier at ​night. They were ​happy because they had caught a lot of ​fish that ​day.figurative I can ​see you're ​busyright now, so I'll catch you (= ​speak to you)later.

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  • catch verb (NOTICE)

B2 [T] to ​discover, ​see, or ​realize something, ​especially someone doing something ​wrong: [+ -ing verb] He caught her ​reading his ​oldloveletters. If the ​virus is caught (= ​discovered) in ​time, most ​patients can be ​successfullytreated. I caught sight of/caught a ​glimpse of (= ​saw for a ​moment) a ​redcoat in the ​crowd.
catch sb's attention, imagination, interest, etc.
B2 to make someone ​notice something and ​feelinterested: A ​ship out at ​sea caught his ​attention. Her ​pictures caught my ​imagination.
be caught without sth
to not have something, ​especially when it is ​needed: He doesn't like to be caught without any ​biscuits in the ​house.
you won't catch sb doing sth
said to ​mean that you will ​certainly not ​see someone doing a ​particular thing or in a ​particularplace: You won't catch me at ​work after four o'clock. You won't catch Carla ​eating in a ​cheaprestaurant, oh no.

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  • catch verb (TRAVEL)

A1 [T] to ​travel or be ​able to ​travel on an ​aircraft, ​train, ​bus, etc.: He always catches the 10.30 a.m. ​train to ​work. She was ​worried that she'd ​arrive too late to catch the last ​bushome.

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  • catch verb (BECOME INFECTED)

A2 [T] to get an ​illness, ​especially one ​caused by ​bacteria or a ​virus: He caught a ​cold on ​holiday. A lot of ​children in the ​school caught ​measles last ​term.

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  • catch verb (BREATHE)

catch your breath
to ​stopbreathing for a ​moment, or to ​begin to ​breathecorrectly again after ​running or other ​exercise: I had to ​sit down and catch my ​breath.
  • catch verb (BE TOUCHED BY)

catch the sun UK
If you have caught the ​sun, the ​sun has made ​yourskin a ​slightlydarkerbrown or ​redcolour: You've caught the ​sun on the back of ​yourneck.
catch the light
If something catches the ​light, a ​lightshines on it and makes it ​lookshiny.
  • catch verb (BURN)

catch fire
B1 to ​startburning: For ​reasons which are not ​yetknown, the ​factory caught ​fire late ​yesterdayevening.
[I] to ​begin to ​burn: This wood's too ​wet, the ​fire won't catch.


uk   /kætʃ/  us   /kætʃ/
  • catch noun (FASTENING DEVICE)

[C] a ​smalldevice on a ​door, ​window, ​bag, etc. that ​keeps it ​fastened
(Definition of catch from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"catch" in American English

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 us   /kætʃ, ketʃ/ (past tense and past participle caught  /kɔt/ )
  • catch verb (TAKE HOLD)

[I/T] to take or get ​hold of a ​movingobject, or to ​hold and ​prevent someone from getting away: [I] She ​tossed him the ​carkeys and ​yelled, “Catch!” [T] He ​sneaked into the ​fairgrounds without ​paying and hoped nobody would catch him.
  • catch verb (DISCOVER)

[T] to ​discover, ​find, or ​becomeaware of something: If the ​disease is caught in ​time, most ​patients get well ​quickly. I ​hope I catch all the ​mistakes in my ​termpaper.
  • catch verb (SEE)

[T] to ​see or ​hear something or someone, or to ​understand: I’m ​sorry, I didn’t ​quite catch what you said.
  • catch verb (TRAVEL)

[T] to ​travel or be ​able to ​travel on a ​train, ​bus, ​aircraft, etc.: He always caught the 6:05 ​train out of Grand Central.
  • catch verb (BECOME INFECTED)

[T] to get an ​illness: I caught a ​cold.


 us   /kætʃ, ketʃ/
  • catch noun (PROBLEM)

[C] infml a ​hiddenproblem or ​disadvantage: That ​salespricesounds too good to be ​true – there must be a catch to it ​somewhere.
  • catch noun (DEVICE)

[C] a ​smalldevice with a ​movablepart that is used to ​fasten something: The catch on the ​bracelet is ​broken.
  • catch noun (TAKING HOLD)

[C/U] the ​act of taking ​hold of something that is ​thrown or comes through the ​air: [C] The ​ball was ​hit well, but the centerfielder made a ​leaping, one-handed catch to end the ​game.
[C/U] Catch is also the ​activity of ​throwing and ​receiving a ​ball with another ​person: [U] My ​kids are always ​begging me to ​play catch.
(Definition of catch from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"catch" in Business English

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catchverb [T]

uk   us   /kætʃ/ (caught, caught)
catch sb off guard/by surprise
to surprise someone and cause difficulty for them: A lot of ​taxpayers will be ​caught off ​guard by their new ​taxliability
catch sb's eye/catch the eye of sb
to get someone's ​attention, or to be noticed by someone: The ​high-profileplan has ​caught the ​eye of a ​nationalaudience.
be/get caught up in sth
to become involved in something, often without wanting to: The ​firm was ​caught up in the near-collapse of one of the world's largest ​hedgefunds.

catchnoun [S]

uk   us   /kætʃ/
a ​hidden problem or disadvantage: The catch is that during the ​calendaryear you can only make six withdrawals from your ​account.
a new ​employee that a ​company is very pleased to have because they are very ​valuable: He is a super-bright ​economist who is a ​real catch for the ​department.
(Definition of catch from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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“catch” in Business English

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